AREK GULBENKOGLU, of cruelty CD-R
“Arek Gulbenkoglu and I were sat for dinner having ordered the same meal, discussing its merit. It’s an expected conversation in such moments, but one at odds with the musical output of the man sitting opposite me. The sound of Arek Gulbenkoglu defies anything remotely aligned with the notion of ‘expected’. Having just met the man at a friendly dinner, I wondered how appropriate it would be to assail him with questions inspired by many years of trying to absorb his output. Then, after reflecting on these ‘questions’, it became apparent there was only one.
“Through a mouthful of cooling fries, I found the gumption to ask, “What’s the point of what you do?” The question wasn’t intended to cause offense; rather it was an attempt to gain insight into a seemingly confusing sound world. Arek thought about this for a moment before replying, “I respond to the world. The world gets the sound it deserves”. This answer surprised me. I was immediately reminded of German filmmaker, Jörg Buttgereit who, when asked to defend the films he made, simply replied, “society gets the films it deserves”. Arek Gulbenkoglu is a man who creates in quiet response, rather than a provocateur like Buttgereit, but his response is no less brutal and unapologetic.
“of cruelty could be considered a continuation as much as Gulbenkoglu’s oeuvre can constitute such a concept. The interaction of shimmering tones on ‘A foregrounding’ makes a mockery of the beauty typically suggested by ‘shimmering’. When the spasmodic electronic chirps give way to a thick wall of absence in ‘Innards’, the only joy one can feel while listening is in the track’s decision to give you none. This theme reaches its apogee in ‘Haste’ where, using primitive dance music conceits, Gulbenkoglu forbids rhythm and groove, creating instead a loaded stasis – a dance floor of the nearly-dancing.
“By the time the final track, ‘Consequences’ reaches its conclusion, one’s head has already been scratched into flakes – the questions so many they become white noise. I am reminded of my first dinner with Arek where I received the answer to a question I had been asking since Points Alone [Impermanent, 2005] and realise, no matter how many answers he gives me, I will likely never stop asking the same question.” – Matthew Revert